The Glory of Entrepreneurship

The infographic depicting seven harsh realities of entrepreneurship really struck a chord with me, especially (3). It reflects a conversation that I just had with my oldest daughter.

For some time, I’ve wanted to open up my own business. I’ve been a fair to moderate success managing other people’s businesses, and I wanted to see if I could go it on my own. I know exactly the kind of business I’d start, too: a retro arcade. Before you laugh, there are more and more of these popping up all over the country, even a few here in my hometown of Toledo. All of the ones here focus on the food (they are primarily restaurants or bars); I want to open one that would focus on the games.

Naturally, I’ve discussed this with my family (including my kids). The kids’ main concern is less on the profitability or feasibility of the business, and more on whether I will let them play for free.

One day, out of the blue, my oldest said, “Daddy, I really want you to hurry up and open your arcade.”

I was touched by the show of support, but as a parent these types of confidence-boosting sentiments are rarely said without ulterior motives. I asked, “Why are you in such a hurry?”

“So we can be rich and hire a maid.”

Naive. I had to hit her with the reality of the infographic’s third point. Most business owners struggle just as much as everyone else to make ends meet. Only a handful become wealthy.

I explained what “profit” was and told her that most businesses operate at a loss for three years before seeing their first dollar. During that time, one has to pump more money into the business than is coming out in order to keep it afloat. That means investors, loans, crowdsourcing, credit lines.

If I successfully open this arcade, my family will be in no better a position than we are now, not for at least five to ten more years.

My daughter is caught up in the lie that being an entrepreneur with a successful business means that you’re fabulously wealthy. Although it seems to be a widespread misconception, my position is that no one really believes it. If they did, there would be more entrepreneurs. Because if being a business owner means instant wealth and fame and solid gold Gulfstream jets to fly to business meetings in Maui, then why isn’t everyone doing it?

I think I depressed her a bit when I explained the truth.

The Pickle Story

Emily with Gabe

In my previous post, I alluded to a hilarious event at a recent family wedding that I cryptically called “the Pickle Incident.” I mused that I would relay the facts of this incident some other time. This just became “some other time.”

During the actual wedding, my son Gabe got extremely fussy and I had to leave and take him upstairs to the “Cry Room.” It was basically a nursery, which I presume was normally staffed by the ladies of the church. In this case, no one was staffing it so I had to stay with my little man. The wedding was piped into nursery, so I got to hear everything.

After the wedding, I attempted to find everyone. I carried Gabe into another room where the remnants of the rehearsal dinner (held maybe an hour or two before the actual wedding) were sitting. Gabe was hungry, so from that table I fed him a slice of pickle (the small kind that would go on a McDonald’s hamburger, for example), which he happily chewed on.

I then saw Emily exiting the bathroom. She had taken my daughter in there following the service. So we walked downstairs to the reception (which was held in the church basement).

Once in the basement, Emily asked to hold Gabe. I obliged. When she had held him for about ten minutes, Gabe decided that he didn’t like the pickle I had given him earlier and spit it back out.

Think of this from Emily’s perspective. She didn’t know that I had just fed him a pickle. She was in the restroom when that happened. Therefore, she didn’t see it and I never told her. She didn’t realize that pickles were even an option. So for all she knew, he found this random pickle somewhere before we had left home and had been chewing on it the entire service!

Pretty gross. She, understandably, freaked out.

So, being the nice brother-in-law that I am, I immediately told her what happened so she could calm down.

Yeah, I couldn’t even type that with a straight face.

No, I let her suffer for a few minutes, speculating with her friend Paige where the heck that pickle could have come from.

Then I told her, when I finally couldn’t contain my laughter. We all had a pretty good laugh over that, and I hope that you did as well, dear reader.

Family Photo

Recently, my wife’s grandpa got remarried.  At the ceremony, we got a great family photo that took less time than any single family photo that I have ever participated in.  No one was in the bathroom, no one decided to wander away randomly, no one got into an argument mid-shoot.  It was awesome.  Here it is:

First row, from left: Ashleigh (my daughter), Emily, Jillian, Jody (my beautiful wife), and Carol.  Second row, also from left: Matt, Rob, Ana, John (Grandpa), Me (with Gabe), Nate, Denny.

A great time was had by all.  Perhaps another day I will relay the Pickle Incident.  It really made me laugh.